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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 14, 2013 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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where nato defense ministers including someone from the united states that we would hope would have been the secretary of defense would attend that meeting. today a couple of my republican colleagues said it doesn't matter, have somebody else attend. what does that do to our standing in the world community? we need a secretary of defense on the job. no one, no one knows, especially any united states senator, what foreign challenge will face this country perhaps within the next ten days. and it would be nice if we had a secretary of defense. there is nothing going to change in the next ten days about the qualifications of chuck hagel. i served with chuck hagel. he is a conservative republican representing the ultra liberal
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state of nebraska. he served with distinction in the united states senate as a senator, served on the foreign relations committee, armed services committee, intelligence committee. he's a man of quality, a man of courage. not just being able to come and give a speech here on the senate floor. during the vietnam war, he volunteered to go into combat. that's what he chose to do. because he thought it was the patriotic thing to do for his country, our country. and his family felt that way. he and his brother went togeth together. they didn't go to push pencils. they carried rifles, had strapped to their sides grenad grenades. he was wounded twice.
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he's an enlisted man. he didn't walk around ordering people to do things. people were ordering him around what to do. except when it came to his brother, who he saved his brother's life in combat in vietnam. and they are filibustering him. that's what they're doing. i'm going to go call chuck hagel when i finish here and say, i'm sorry, sorry this has happened. i'm sorry for the president, i'm sorry for the country, and i'm sorry for you. but we're not going to give up on you. we're going to vote, as i said, tuesday when we get back in the morning. and i -- i hope, i really, really do hope that nothing happens during the next ten days and we won't have a secretary of defense. that -- we're not going to have one but i hope nothing goes wrong that we'll rue the day, more than just embarrassing the president, the senate, and the
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country in not -- not -- not confirming the president's nomination of this good man from nebraska. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, to my knowledge, we do have a secretary of defense and his name is leon panetta. and it's my understanding that mr. panetta's going to stay on the job, a job that he's done very well as secretary of defense and as c.i.a. director for the last several years. the majority leader knows full well that the reason why cloture was denied or the debate -- closing off debate was denied is because there are reasonable requests being made on this side for additional information, and i hope and trust that that information will be provided here in the next few days and when we come back from the recess, we'll have another vote and another opportunity for senators to express themselves. but this is not any attempt to kill this nomination. this is not a filibuster.
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i realize that's the headline that the majority leader would like the newspapers to write. we actually had some very reasonable discussions going on earlier today among senators on the democratic side and republican side to try to work this out. given the fact that this nomination has just so recently been reported from the armed services committee and o to accommodate the reasonable requests from senators to get answers to their legitimate questions. and we didn't need to have this vote today. we could have -- we could have delayed this until after the recess, and i'm confident that the vote would have turned out differently. but the white house and the majority leader were determined to have this vote in order to try to get a -- a story in the newspaper, one that misrepresents the nature of the objection on this side, which, as i said, was a vote not to cut off debate because it was prema tuesday, because reasonable
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requests for -- premature, because reasonable requests for information have not been accommodated by the nominee. there are solid public policy differences between members of this side of the aisle and the nominee. this is not about politics. this is not about personalities. it's about questions like whether should iran be allowed to get a nuclear weapon? should we have direct negotiations with terrorist organizations like hezbollah and hamas? what is the official posture of the united states department of defense and this administration relative to our best ally in the middle east, israel? and what is the plan -- what would be the plan for the nominee, should he be confirmed, when it comes to dealing with steep cuts to the military that are going to come out of this scwes hear thathissequester, whe president's idea and which is now going to go into effect on march the 1st, which is something the president himself said was not going to happen. so all of these are i think legitimate areas of difference and areas of inquiry that should
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be accommodated, could have been accommodated without the necessity of this vote today, but this was the majority leader's choice, which is his prerogative, and the white house's choice. we could have done this differently. we could have worked this out, but that did not happen, unfortunately. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: if this is not a filibuster, if this is not a filibuster, i'd like to see what a filibuster was. the first time in the history of our country that a secretary of defense has been filibustered successfully and probably ever filibustered. and for all this statement my friend from texas about we want to make sure he's okay on iran, we want to make sure he's okay on israel, we want to make sure that he ran through this. we had hearings on this, mr. president, hearings. not singularly but plurally.
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the secretary of state came, secretary of defense. now, this is -- this has gone to the absurd. we were told by a number of senators that they would like a letter from the president, the white house talking about what he did following benghazi. remember, benghazi was debated at length in the presidential election. that's over, we thought. but, no, not -- it's not over. so the president said, okay, and he adhered to what they wanted and wrote in detail calls he had made right after the terrible occurrence in benghazi and sent it to the chairman of the committee. well, mr. president, we get reports back that some of the senators were offended because the letter was sent to the chairman of the committee and not to them. this is all foolishness.
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and people can say whatever they want to say about we still have a secretary of defense. leon panetta gave his final closing ending, it's all over with speech yesterday where my friend, leon panetta, who i've known for 31 years, no one in the country has served with more distinction than him, a member of congress, chairman of the budget committee. head of the office of management and budget. president's chief of staff. head of the c.i.a. secretary of defense. he wants to go home, and yesterday he told everybody he was going home. so, yeah, we have a secretary of defense. it's about as lame as a duck can be. how do you think the people in -- at nato feel when -- i don't know who will go, ash carter or somebody will go. but we don't have a secretary of defense.
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and i can't imagine, as i said this morning -- and i'll just repeat -- i guess to be able to run for the senate as a republican in most places of the country, you need to have a resume that says i helped filibuster one of the president's nominees. maybe that helps. maybe that keeps a tea party guy from running against you. but this should not be politics. it should be substance. and there is nothing wrong with chuck hagel. mr. alexander: mr. president, with all respect to the distinguished majority leader, this -- this was an unnecessary vote today. the majority leader said, what is a filibuster? i can remember one that wasn't called a filibuster. i can remember when president bush i nominated a very noncontroversial university of tennessee president who had been governor to be the secretary of education of the united states about 20 years ago, there was a
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democratic senate at the time, and the senator from ohio decided that he wanted more time to study the qualifications of the nominee from tennessee. that nominee was -- was -- was me. i thought that was an extraordinary period of time. it was 87 -- 87 days between the time president bush announced my nomination and the time the senate unanimously confirmed me. that was a cabinet position. i went around to see senator warren rudman and asked him what i should do. he said, you don't have any cards, you don't do anything. the senate has a right to consider, with its constitutional prerogative of advise and consent, the nominees of the president. that's what the senate's there for. so i -- i said, well, warren, how did you get to be a senator? he said, well, i'll tell you a story. he said, president ford nominated me t in 1976 to be oni
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believe it was the federal communications commission, and the senator from new hampshire, a democratic senator, and a democratic senate put a hold on warren rudman until warren rudman withdrew his nomination. now, the end of the story was that warren rudman then ran against that senator and beat him and that's how warren rudman became a senator. so, mr. president, we know what a filibuster is. a filibuster is when one side or the other -- which it has a perfect right to do under our system of government -- decides to try to kill a nomination by denying 60 votes or to stop legislation by 60 votes. the democrats have done it on a regular basis when they were in the minority, and the distinguished majority leader was one of the most effective persons in -- in the senate at doing that. i presided many times over the senate when he objected. i remember the -- you know, when
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we were trying to get 60 votes to -- to have a permanent change in the estate law and we'd get up to 57 or 58 or 59 and the distinguished majority leader would object. now, what are we doing today? we're doing today exactly what was said when the vote was called. the question was, do 60 of us believe that it's time to end debate on the nomination of the president to be secretary of defense, the leader of the largest military organization in the world, the largest employer in the united states, and the senate armed services committee has reported that recommendation to the senate two days ago? not ten days ago, not 15 days ago, not 30 days ago -- two days ago. now, most of us aren't on the armed services committee. are we not entitled -- are we not entitled to have more than two days to consider one of the
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most important nominations the president has to make without having the distinguished majority leader accuse us of a filibuster? i mean, what we do in this body is debate. we debate issues. and in addition to that, there are a number of people on the republican side have asked for information for which they haven't received answers yet. now, in every one of those cases, those are not requests that i'm interested in. they won't produce answers that i need to know. they may be outside the range of questions that i think ought to be answered. but i think after only two days of a nomination being on the floor, that if republican senators have questions to ask and information to seek, that they ought to be allowed to do that. and that's what this is about. so what we have said, and -- and the democratic leadership knows this and we've talked in good faith through the morning --
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we've suggested, have this debate when we come back. that would be instead of two days after the bill was reported to the committee -- or to the senate floor, it would be two days plus ten, a couple of weeks. give us a chance to read the hearings, consider the evidence, ask our questions and then -- and there were three senators who came down on the floor today, including the senator from arizona and the senator from south carolina, who said then we'll be ready to vote for cloture; in other words, we'll be ready to vote to end debate to do what the senate should do, which is eventually, after a full consideration, to have an up-or-down vote on a president's nominee for the cabinet. at least that's my belief, that eventually you should have an up-or-down vote on the president's nominee for the cabinet. so it's an unfortunate vote and it's unfortunate to characterize this as a filibuster. this is a vote by republicans to say, we want more than two days
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after this nomination comes to the floor to carefully consider it because we have questions, many have questions, and then most of us believe that after a sufficient time -- and for me, a sufficient time will probably be those ten days -- after those ten days, it will be time to end debate, it will be time to have a vote, and it will be a time to move on to something else. so i want to make sure this is properly characterized. this was a motion to close off debate after two days of bringing to the full senate the president's nomination to lead the largest military organization in the world at a time when senators had reasonable questions for which they want answers, a vote to extend that until ten days from now or some other appropriate time after that not only is reasonable, it's in the traditions of the senate and such reasonableness has been
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exercised by democrats as well as republicans throughout the history of the united states senate. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, senator alexander's my friend. i mean it. sometimes that word is thrown around on the floor of the senate, not very sincerely, but i mean it and he knows it, and i respect him very much, but i would say to the senator, there is just no other way to describe what we are going through than a filibuster. a filibuster is, of course, an effort by at least one member of the senate to continue the debate and stop the vote on a matter, whether it's an amendment or a nomination. a cloture motion, in other words, to close off the debate, is an effort to produce 60 votes to overcome that senator and to move to a vote, a final vote on an amendment or a nomination. so by every senate standard, by every definition, what we're facing with senator chuck hagel as a nominee for the secretary
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of defense is a filibuster. it is. and that's why the majority leader filed a motion for cloture. it is interesting to note that 59 senators, a substantial majority of the senate, were prepared to vote for chuck hagel to be secretary of defense, including four from your own side of the aisle, but we fell short of the needed 60 votes, the 60 votes under cloture needed to end the filibuster. so i have to say to my friend from tennessee, by every definition in the senate, by every standard, you have successfully filibustered the nomination of chuck hagel for the united states senate. it's happened before on cabinet nominees, twice, i'm told, in our history and once while i was here involving dirk kempthorne whose nomination was controversial and another cloture vote was called, and i said how did i vote? you know, after a while you sometimes forget.
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and they said well, it turned out that the cloture vote for dirk kempthorne was 85-7. so clearly, he had 60 votes-plus and i voted for the cloture vote in this circumstance, and then he was affirmed by a voice vote thereafter. so it's happened before, but it happens rarely, twice in our history that we have had a cabinet nominee who is filibustered. what is peculiar about this -- i'll concede to the senator, there are many times we have questions that need to be answered before we can make a sound or final decision. what's peculiar about this vote, the questions are being asked about a fellow colleague, someone you served with for years. this is not a name that just was dropped out of the blue. i would assume that you knew chuck hagel, that you served with him, that you were on committees with him, that you sat hour after hour, day after day, maybe month after month in meetings together. so he is a known quantity, more so on your side of the aisle than on our side. i served with him on the
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intelligence committee. i thought he was a person of sound judgment. there were times when i thought he showed real courage. i never doubted for a minute his commitment to some of the basic issues. the senator from texas, who is also a friend, said well, we're not sure where he stands on issues like iran. i think he has said unequivocally over the last several weeks his position is the same as the president's. we need to stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon. the same has been said relative to our relationship with israel. if people still have questions about that today, they are ignoring his answers or they don't believe him, and they can vote yes or no. i don't know how many more times he needs to say that to satisfy his critics. perhaps for some of them, he'll never satisfy them. but it is troubling to me, and i would agree with senator reid, leon panetta is a close, close personal friend. i mean, we really go back to our house days, and i recall that he
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had a unanimous vote when he was nominated for secretary of defense, an indication of the respect we have for him, but his days are coming to a close, and he said so. what the president has said is i need to move somebody into this critical position for the national security of the united states, and chuck hagel is the person i would propose. we have had ample time. i would be surprised if there are any, perhaps many senators who didn't have a chance to personally sit down with senator hagel. he came to my office and i know he made himself available to virtually every senator before this process started, so chuck hagel has done what he was asked to do -- answer the questions, appear before the committee, and for a person who was a former colleague, it's hard to understand or complain why there are so many people on the republican side of the aisle puzzled by this fellow from nebraska, someone they served with for so many years. and let me also say, i want to join with the majority leader. god forbid anything happens in
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the next ten days. i hope it doesn't, for our sake and for the sake of the senate and the people of this country. we do need a secretary of defense. i -- i'd like to think if the tables were turned that the other side would not be pillar ing us for leaving the secretary of defense office vacant in these dangerous times. i'm afraid many on your side would be, saying why didn't you get this done when you could have. this was a democratic senator. why do you need to keep asking questions over and over? but we have reached this point. there's nothing we can do about it. senators have left. we will be off next week for the president's holiday. i hope as soon as we return, as quickly as we return, that we defeat this filibuster against chuck hagel, this rare filibuster in senate history, that we give him his chance to continue to serve this nation as he did so ably as a united states senator and as a soldier in combat in vietnam. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i want to reassure the distinguished assistant majority leader that we still have a secretary of defense. his name is leon panetta. and i'm referring here to an email that his press secretary, george little, sent out on thursday. quote -- "the secretary plans to stay in office until senator hagel is confirmed and sworn in." close quote. so if anybody's under any misapprehension, i believe the pentagon press secretary has made that clear, we have a secretary of defense. he has not resigned, and he will continue to serve until such time as his successor is sworn in. and i would just say again to my friend, the senator from illinois, the assistant majority leader, we all know what a filibuster is. a filibuster is designed to kill a nomination or to defeat legislation, as the senator from tennessee said. and i would say this is
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equivalent to what happened back in 2005, and i have a letter here, mr. president, i'd like to ask unanimous consent to be made part of the record following my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: and i will refer to it. this is a letter signed by chris dodd, our former colleague who served on the foreign relations committee, and joe biden when he was the ranking member of the foreign relations committee back in 2005. it's entitled "dear democratic colleague, we write to urge you to oppose the cloture on the bolton nomination tonight. we want to make clear that this is not a filibuster. it is a vote to protect the senate's constitutional power to advise and consent the nominations." and i'll skip down, the letter will be in the record. the last paragraph says -- "the refusal of the executive branch to provide information relevant to the nomination is a threat to the senate's constitutional power to advise and consent.
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the only way, the only way to protect that power is to continue to demand the information be provided to the senate. the only means of forcing the administration to cooperate is to prevent a final vote on the nomination today. signed chris dodd and joe biden." so my point is this is exactly what the senator from tennessee said it was, a vote not to end debate but to allow these inquiries to be answered, and the shoe will likely be on another foot some other time with some other nominee, and we ought to, i think at minimum, respect and protect the right of the senate and of an individual senator to make reasonable inquiries of a nominee as part of the power of advise and consent. so this is not a filibuster. if it is, then this was in 2005 contrary to the assertions of joe biden and chris dodd. but i agree with them in this
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instance, this is merely an effort not to close off debate but to allow reasonable inquiries to get information that will advise the senators' vote when it comes to voting on this after the next break. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, we are facing a very serious problem with the sequester that
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will impact our defense department and other government agencies. it's a very serious matter. it's been out there for well over a year. we have known this is coming, and it's time, long past time for the democratic senate and the president of the united states to provide some leadership on the issue. i was pleased with senator mcconnell this morning when he raised this matter, suggesting that we were in a pattern here of how business is being done in the senate. it goes something like this, senator mcconnell said. phase one, republicans identify a challenge and propose a solution. phase two, the liberals sit on their hands until the last minute. phase three, they then offer some gimmicky tax hike designed to fail and then blame everybody when it does. this is essentially, i'm afraid,
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where we are. it's time we are now here that they are about to sweep in with some gimmicky solution that won't be successful. i don't know where they are in that. we have seen a one-page out line that suggests that there is a plan out there, but we haven't seen legislative language, i don't believe, unless it was produced in the last few hours. so we are two weeks away from a sequester that will include cuts that i believe will be too damaging to the united states military. and can be avoided and should be avoided. to sequester a member was part of an agreement that was reached in august a year ago, august, 2011, made between the president of the united states, the democratic leadership in the senate and the house leadership
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in the house of representatives. and it was designed to raise the debt ceiling because we had borrowed all the money that legally could be borrowed, and the administration wanted to spend more and borrow more money. we were borrowing well over 35 cents out of every dollar that we spent at that time and still are, and so he wanted to raise the debt ceiling, and the people holding the credit card, the united states congress, said wait a minute, you have run up too much debt, you have got to lay out a plan that at least over ten years would equal the amount we raised the debt ceiling. you get to spend that money now, and it was spent in 18 months. we already hit the debt ceiling again. we would raise this debt ceiling $2.1 trillion, and an agreement was reached to reduce spending over the next ten years by
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$2.1 trillion. so that was then. the president signed that. the democratic leader in the senate agreed to that. the speaker of the house, the republican, agreed to that. that became the law. well, we were on path at that time -- and these are numbers that we live with every day. i'm the ranking republican on the budget committee, and it's just a constant item in our face out there. we were then spending $3.7 trillion a year. if you extend that for ten years, you would spend $37 trillion over ten years. but the budget was expected to grow. it was expected to grow to $47 trillion. so at the end of that time, we would have increased spending by $10 trillion almost. this deal would have said that we wouldn't spend $47 trillion
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but $45 trillion, thereby reducing the increase by a modest amount. and these were the first significant cuts that we have had in -- in the congress in a long time. it's the first time we have really actually made some alteration in the growth of spending. really, it's not a cut. really, it's a reducing in the growth of spending. and the president not only agreed, but he actually proposed the sequester part of the deal. and the sequester came about under the theory that this would be a stopgap emergency matter if the committee of 12 didn't reach some long-term fiscal plan to alter the debt course of america. and the committee didn't reach that agreement. it fell apart, and the sequester happened. now, the sequester was put in the bill at the last minute -- according to bob woodward in his
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book, i at the request of the white house -- and nobody knew the reason. that's the reason primarily that i voted against t i didn't like this situation. it looked to me like it would be a meat ax cut and it would fall disproportionately on the defense department. but, at any rate, good people agreed, and the bill passed and the bill became law. so that's how it happened. and it is done in a way that really disrupts the defense department. if you cut the defense department as much as is presently done now, it would hurt, under any circumstances, would be damaging -- more damaging than it should be to the military. but if it's done the way the sequester says, everybody agrees, it will be far more damaging than it needs to be because it gives the defense department very little control over how to manage this, to
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manage their mona way that has the -- in -- to manage their money in a way that has the least harm. remember, that the half -- the sequester needs to be reevaluated for a lot of reasons. one-sixth of the budget is the defense department. one-sixth of the amount of money we spend is by the defense department. one half of all the cuts in the sequester fall on the defense department. it's disproportionate. and, remember, some people think and are under the impression that it's the war costs that are being cut. this is not what we're talking about. all of these -- the war costs are funded in a separate account. all of these cuts fall on the base defense budget of the united states of america. it means too rapid a reduction,
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too severe a reduction in our military personnel, civilian personnel, and it endangers the smart management of our war. while entire portions of our government -- all one half of -- almost one half of our government have no cuts at all. and defense spending increases, i have to tell you, are less than half of what you see in many of the other major spending programs in our government. they haven't -- the base defense budget has not been surging out of control. it's been increasing by the rate of inflation in the last several years. so defense is already, remember -- so defense has already, remember, reduced its budget as part of the first part of the b.c.a., the budget control act last august. that was $487 billion.
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so this sequester would be an additional $500 billion, should it go through. and it would be acumulative -- and it would be a cumulative reduction over ten years. that is a big reduction. it all terse the ability of the military to function in a way they've been functioning, and it threatens the ability for them to carry out the missions that they've been assigned to carry out today. chairman of the joint chiefs, general dempsey, said just this week, quote, "if sequestration occurs, it will severely limit our ability to implement our defense strategy. it will put the nation at a greater risk of coercion and it will break faith with the men and women in uniform." close quote. and that's a serious statement, and we should respect that. i know right now they're threatening all kinds of draconian cuts and probably when
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the dust settles, it won't be quite as draconian as they are taling us. but the fundamental truth is that this is disproportionate and dangerous to the defense department and it's not necessary. now remember how we got here. we saw this coming. the defense authorization bill was not brought up before the election maybe for the first time in 50 years. why was it not brought up in september, august, july, october? why was it not? one of the reasons was, i think, that everybody knew the sequester was out there. it needed to be fixed. and this would have been the opportunity to fix it when that bill moved through the senate. and so senator reid wouldn't bring up the defense bill, just refused to bring it to the floor. senator mccain came to the
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floor and said, shame, shame, shame, as rank republican on the committee, pointing out this failure was the first time, i believe, in 50 years that the defense bill had not moved. no other appropriations bill had moved either, not a single one, but at least -- appropriations bill. but not passing the defense authorization bill was historic. and, again, i think in big part because they didn't want to talk about that. now, if you were a member in the debate last october with governor romney and the sequester came up -- it was october, i believe -- what did president obama say? it will not happen. the sequester will not happen. and here we are with no plan to fix it from the white house, no plan to fix it from the democratic majority, who apparently wants to lead this country, wants to be in the
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majority, wants to justify their leadership position. senator reid has not brought forth, unless it is today -- until this late, late minute, a plan to fix the sequester, an alteration. we've seen the outline, a one one-page outline, but that's it. i would just note -- i think i indicated -- the house has already twice passed legislation months ago that would fix the sequester and not allow this event to occur in the way that it is. they've done their duty. so what's the senate going to do? what are we going to have from the senate? another do-nothing, no budget, no fix to economic threats of america, now no fix to the sequester? the only think w thing we have w is raise taxes? well, the truth is, the way to
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fix this, the way to do this is to have all the departments and agencies of the government be evaluated, not just a small portion of them, and have all of them tighten their belts of the and we could easily avoid the draconian cuts that are lurking out there right now. over half the government spending was not touched in the 2011 budget control act deal. it just wasn't. including some of the fastest-growing items such as food stamps that's gone from $20 billion in 2001 to $80 billion last year, gone up four times in ten years, not a dime was reduced from it. and medicaid, it's at 6%,% a% -- it's at 6%, 7% a year increases. these programs add to the government spending each year. they weren't having any review
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at all. well, i'm disappointed we don't have a legislative plan on the floor that we can actually evaluate and see what it means and then begin to debate it and discuss it. it should long since have been brought up in this senate. we should already be aware of it, but there is a game played around here, as senator mcconnell said -- there is a game around here to wait till the last minute and the president, using the power of the presidency and his skill as an orator, feels he can once again dominate the media and able to extract the kind of legislation that he wants in the end and somehow gain political advantage, i guess. i don't think it's going to work this time. i'm really worried about it. i'm afraid we're not going to have an agreement. i'm afraid cuts are going to
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take place in a way that shouldn't occur and that they could be done smarter and more effectively with less damage than we have. so we're told that in the plan in this outline that's floating around that after we passed just a few weeks ago a $600 billion tax increase, that now we want to have another tax increase. and i have to say this with clarity. any plan that attempts to replace the cuts in the budget control act with tax increases will not happen. they cannot happen. there will be a fundamental breach of the comeement we made to the -- of the commitment we made to the american people in 2011 in august. we told them, we have an agreement. we will raise the debt ceiling
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$2.1 trillion. a lot of people did not want that to happen. a lot of people are fed up with borrowing in washington. a lot of people said, don't raise the debt ceiling a dime. we said, okay, we're going to raise the debt ceiling, but we're going to promise you, american people, we will contain the growth of spending by $2.1 trillion. so the debt -- the increase in spending will be about $8 trillion instead of $10 trillion. surely that's not going to break america. surely that's not going to destroy this republic. it could be exceedingly damaging if we do like the sequester says, though, and target defense department, far more severely than any other area of government. but fundamentally reducing the growth in spending from $10 trillion in expected increases to ode $8 trillion is not goingo
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damage america, and it can be done. in fact, it must be done. and so what we have to understand is that the president of the united states, senator reid, the democratic leader in the senate, agreed in august of 2011 that we would raise the debt ceiling, we would cut spending, and we would not increase taxes. we would not increase taxes. there was a simple, small, but significant, noticeable reduction in the growth in spending, and that was the agreement before the ink was dry on it, we had people wanting to weasel out of it, to change it. what would the american people think of us if less than two years after this agreement, this promise to them, we capitulated,
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we couldn't follow through, and we couldn't maintain those growth reductions that we promised the american people we would do? it just directly -- the plan that i'm hearing that's being floated now is a direct contradiction of the promise we made to the american people. i don't believe it'll pass. i don't believe it'll pass the house, and i don't believe it will pass the senate. and, remember, this is current baseline law now. mr. president, the budget director, congressional budget office, testified before the budget committee this week, and he showed us what the projected deficits will be over the next ten years. the good news was that deficits would be reduced some, less than
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half of what they are today, by 2015. and a big part of that was the sequester, because it's in law. the law says these reductions will occur. he scored them as we passed it, and now we're saying we want to give that back. and we don't want to follow through on that. and the only way you can not follow through on the reductions that were in the budget control act would be to increase spending, to increase spending above what we're currently projected to have the government grow over the next 10 years. we would have to increase spending. so make no mistake about it, the plan that's being proposed is to tax and spend -- to spend more and tax more. that is not where this country should be going.
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i reject that as the right approach. and particularly, it's contrary to the steps we took in august. one reason the agreement was reached on the fiscal cliff in early january this year was that we had spending cuts last augu august, and they got some tax increases in january. but not more. and those tax increases should have been for the purpose of reducing debt, not funding new spending. to sum up the matter, in august of 2011, congress and the president agreed and passed legislation to reduce by a small amount the growth of federal spending from $47 trillion to $45 trillion. the spending of the united states would increase approximately $8 trillion instead of $10 trillion. that would not damage american government.
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we certainly should be able to function as a nation with that kind of substantial increase in spending. and it's happening every day in cities and counties and states throughout america. they're dealing with far worse reductions than that. and there was no tax increase agreed to at all. not one penny of tax increases. and those reductions in spending are in law. they're in the new baseline that we're now operating on. and to give back that spending without finding reductions in spending elsewhere would be to increase spending above that agreed to in the budget control act. and that is what the democratic outline that we've seen would do. it increases spending. it increases taxes and say don't worry about the increased spending. we've taken care of it. we've raised taxes. so that's the deal.
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so they raise taxes to pay for the increase. that is in clear violation of the terms of the agreement and the moral agreement we had with the american people. it's in violation of what was told to the american people a little over 18 months ago. and to that extent it's not acceptable. i urge my colleagues not to proceed with this approach. let's find ways to spread out so that more government agencies tighten their belt and not so disproportionately on the defense department, and we can get this matter going. but i'm really worried because we've had no response from our democratic partners, no response from our president of the united states -- the one man that is the commander in chief of american forces. they've not laid out a detailed plan yet, to my knowledge, and we're reaching that deadline, and it's going to take place, it looks like.
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i hope it can be avoided. it should be avoided. and i'm willing to work to avoid that and call on my colleagues not to continue to delay, but let's move forward to an effective agreement that preserves the legislative intent of the budget control act and the promises we made to the american people. i thank the khaeurbgs would yield the floor and -- i thank the chair, would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you very much, mr. president. and i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. today and throughout the coming
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weeks, i hope that this body will move closer to comprehensive immigration reform. actually accountable immigration reform would be a more appropriate term to call it. accountable to the people of the united states, who overwhelmingly want this dysfunctional, broken system to be mended. we are a nation of immigrants, and the people of our nation know it. they know it not only intellectually and abstractly, they know it in their gut because they see on the walls of their homes the proud photographs of their parents, their grandparents, people who have come to this country as a beacon of economic opportunity and freedom, some of them struggling through the most horrific kinds of trials and
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tribulations to reach this great land, the greatest nation in the history of our country. i have told my colleagues in the past and i'll say it again that one of the most inspiring things i do, and i've done it as attorney general for a long time, but now as u.s. story ?o are, is to -- senator, is to visit our courthouses where immigration and naturalization ceremonies take place. those ceremonies are profoundly inspiring because they come, new citizens, people about to become citizens, with their families. it is a day of joy and pride unmatched, and unexcelled in their lives. they come with friends and they come to celebrate with their friends and families. with tears in their eyes and their hearts and their throats, and there is no time that i have seen one of these ceremonies
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when i haven't been deeply moved and uplifted. if you ever have a down day, if you ever are discouraged about this nation, see one of these ceremonies. you will know what it means to be a citizen of the united states of america and how important it is and how important we should hard it. so i -- should regard it. so i approach immigration reform with appreciation of its importance to people who seek liberty and justice in this great land but also how we are enriched as a nation of immigrants by the diversity, the talent, the dedication they bring to our factories, where they work, to our laboratories, where they invent, to our military, where they serve and sacrifice and give their lives. and so i hope that we will embark on accountable
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immigration reform that provides a path to earned citizenship for the 11 million people or more now in this country undocument undocumented. many times they pay taxes, they live here and they regard the united states as their home. they have no criminal background. they've done nothing wrong. and we need to find a way to bring them out of the shadows and provide earned citizenship, background checks to show they have no criminal records, that they will learn to speak english if they don't now do so, go through all of the other steps that may be set and then go to the back of the line behind people who have legally sought to come here. that reform should also include much stronger security at the borders, a crackdown on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, people in this
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country who are here illegally but who can be exploited by those employers. and, of course, a streamlined immigration process. the elements of this reform are becoming clearer and attracting a growing consensus. and if nothing else, we should make sure that we provide an expedited route for people who now come with h1-b visas o visa. some of the details of these proposals need to be resolved so that we give those people who come to this country with extraordinary skills, or who are educated here and now forced to leave the country to the detriment of our tech corporations and many in my home state of connecticut, and maybe first and foremost make sure that we give the dreamers what this country so richl richly de. one would think that i might say
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what they deserve, but really the country deserves what they have to contribute and give back to this country. for some time, i've come to the floor of the senate to talk about individual dreamers and i want to talk today about a young person, cynthia paris, whose photograph is here and who is one of those dreamers, many of whom are brought to this country as infants or very young children. they know no other country. they know often no other language but the one spoken here. their lives are rooted in this country. their friends are here. they're going through our schools. they are serving in our milita military. and yet they can be deported at any time. and right now the president has commendablely offered --
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commendably offered the deferred action childhood arrival, daca, system for them. but it is only for a limited period of time. it does not provide the certainty and security they need to do what cynthia paris wants to do with her life. and that is why the nearly 2 million immigrants nationwide who would benefit from the dream act, between 11,000 and 20,000 in connecticut, deserve the benefit of a more secure route, an expedited route to citizenship. that has to be part of accountable immigration reform. cynthia perez was born in mexico. she was brought to america at the age of five. she's not left america since. her family settled in new haven, connecticut. she went to the new haven public school from elementary school through high school. it was in high school that
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cynthia came to understand how her undocumented status would actually affect her future. because during her senior year of high school, cynthia attended a college preparation class, and from the start of that class, supposedly to prepare her for college, cynthia could not fully take part in the course because she thought she would not be eligible to go to college because of her undocumented status. and still she continued in that class as a way to stay motivated about her future, to experience the college application process, like many americans do, and, in fact, she eventually applied to four universities, some state and some private, and she was accepted, by how many?
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all four. her excitement and her family's soon faded as she realized the choice that she faced. she would not be able to attend any of these schools because she couldn't afford it. and her dream school looked even further out of reach because her parents couldn't afford to pay full tuition and cynthia couldn't share the financial burden because she was afraid to seek work. she is ineligible to work in this country. and she felt hopeless because all she wanted to do was attend college, work her way through so she could create a better future for herself and make a difference for the country. around that time, connecticut passed a state law -- and i advocated it -- to allow
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undocumented students who have graduated from high school in connecticut to pay in-state tuition rates that are available to other connecticut residents. with that financial burden slightly lessened, cynthia was able to enroll at southern connecticut state university, and she is now proud to be in her sophomore year at southern, scsu, and she hopes to use her education to pursue a career in community development or environmental management. basically, she wants to help improve education and support for children in need, children like herself who simply want an education so they can give back to this country, children like herself who are motivated and inspired to contribute to america, and children like herself who are undocumented. and, therefore, hampered and
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impeded in their aspirations. i have no doubt that cynthia will contribute to -- will continue to contribute to connecticut and she will unfortunately face the dangers of deportation from her home and may be sent back to a country that she has not seen for many years, in fact, since she was five years old. i hope that every dreamer is given deferred action status under the president's program. i hope that cynthia's application will be favorably received. i hope that she will be able to pursue her education and work and give back to this nation and that she will be eligible at some point for financial aid. but the full measure of relief from deportation will not come to her or any of the other
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dreamers without the dream act. and, therefore, i urge that the accountable or comprehensive immigration reform under consideration by a bipartisan group, headed by senators schumer and mccain, and the solution eventually adopted by this body to fix that broken system of immigration law will include the dream act. i want to thank and give credit to senator durbin, who has championed this measure for a long time, giving a model to many of us at the state level, where i was attorney general for 20 years, in championing our equivalent of the dream act there, providing aid as we did with cynthia so that she could fulfill her aspirations to seek education. but at the end of the day, a just and effective,
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comprehensive immigration reform must resolve the status of those 11 million people, including cynthia's relatives that may be here, including the dreamers' parents who may be here, it has to be comprehensive so as to establish an earned pathway to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants already giving back, already here, already contributing members of our society, and most especially the children who were brought here -- no fault of their own -- when they were five years old or six years old or five months old and we reaffirm that america is a land of justice and opportunity. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent it be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate on monday, february 25 at 5:00, that's 2013 --, i'm sorry, mr. president the senate proceed to executive session to consider this nomination, calendar number 7, that there are 30 minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form, that upon the use or yielding back of that time the senate proceed to vote with no intervening action or debate on the nomination, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, there be no intervening action or debate and no further motion be in order and that president obama be immediately notified of the senate's action and then the senate resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent we proceed to a period of morning business with
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senators permit -- senators permitted to speak therein for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: sconce the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 21. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 21 designating february 14, 2013 as national con solidarity day for compassionate patient care. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the lautenberg mamed be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, there be no no intervenig action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. res. 35. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 35 congratulating the baltimore ravens for winning intoabl xlvii. -- super bowl xlvii.
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the presiding officer: the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, and there be no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask we proceed to s. res. 36. the presiding officer: the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 36 recognizing february 19, 2013, as the centennial of mosaic and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection? seeing no objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, and there be no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that if the senate receives an adjournment resolution from the house identical to text the at the desk the concurrent resolution be considered agreed to and the motion to reconsider be considered made and 4r5eud on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent on monday, february
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25, -- let me change that, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that either on monday, february 25 or tuesday, february 26, i be permitted and the republican leader be permitted to do a bill to replace the sequester under the budget control act. further if a bill is placed correct ict drectly on the legislative calendar number and finally a motion be considered the day they are introduced. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: the purpose of this, i've had meetings with senator mcconnell and we're each going to have a piece of legislation to hold the sequester from kicking in. and this is the easiest way to do it without a lot of procedural motions and i appreciate everyone's cooperation in that regard. i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding the upcoming recess or adjournment of the the president of the senate, the president pro tempore and senate
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majority and minority leaders be permitted to make appointments to boards or interparliamentary conferences authorized by law. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent from friday, february 15 to monday, february 25 the senate be allowed to sign enrolled bilts. i ask unanimous consent the bill convene for pro forma sessions on the following dates and times that that following each pro forma session the senate adjourn until the next pro forma session
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mr. reid: thank you for your patience. i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its tbis today it adjourn for pro forma sessions only with no business expected on the following dates and times and following each pro forma session the senate adjourn until the next pro forma session. february 15, 12:00 p.m. tuesday, february 19 at 10:30 a.m. and friday, february 22 on 10:45 p.m. and adjourn until february 25 as the senate adopts an adjournment resolution pursuant to the previous order and adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on monday, february 25, 2013. that the mon following the prayer and pledge, the journal be approved the morning business be deemed expired, the time for the leaders reserved for use later in the day, following any leader remarks the senate will be in morning business until 5:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for ten minutes. further that the senate proceed
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to executive session under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: the next roll call vote will be monday the 25th at 5:30 p.m. on confirmation of circuit nominee bacharach. if there is no further business if there is no further business >> he'd thought she was the smartest person he ever go and he knew how much she loves him and he neared that she would tell him pictures. she was echoing to -- that's
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right, she wasn't going to sugarcoat. one of the tapes i absolutely loved was the one where she's analyzed and then asked her to do it, but she was really tough on me. mother always would start off, but you know, i think you should do -- your mother has the best judgment of anybody. you should always listen to your mother. and he was just devoted to her. >> i think we hold the ron has
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this amazing feat that we accomplish this, that we roll back segregation on much of what happened afterwards how incredibly difficult it was, you know, also this incremental process that was frustrating to people as there is seen as a great victory, but also is doing this research to the act and see what we didn't accomplish. so when i was looking at desegregation and how was finally implemented 20 years later actually was handed down, two years later we started guessing. but the way these programs are set up, still maintained a privilege.
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>> yesterday, secretary leon panetta hobbit could be his final press conference has had a good offense department. in opening remarks, you think the press corps. he also announced creation of a new military award of the distinguished warfare battle. secretary panetta also addressed such issues as north korea's nuclear program, the true driver in afghanistan a series of spending cuts called sequestration. >> you're on your own, kid. [laughter] >> afternoon. as you know, this is i believe my final press conference here at the pentagon briefing room.
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there are moments when i thought i was part of a last act of italian opera. i'm not sure exactly when it would end, when the fat lady would seem. but i think that the congress will act and that they will confirm chuck hagel this week. so what i wanted to do was use this opportunity to first about thank you, all of the better part of the press corps here and the press in general. throughout my 50 years in public service, i have always believed, believed very deeply in the role of the press. because i believe deeply in the role of the american people and our democracy, the information
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is key to an informed electorate. and while we may or may not agree with every story, in the grand scheme of things, because of the work of the press, i believe the truth always comes out. and in the end we cannot serve the american people well. thanks to all of you for the role you play in helping present that to the american people. what i would like to do is obviously through the press, express once again my deepest thanks to our troops and to the american people and the president of the united states to give me the distinct honor to
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the secretary of defense. i went through rotc in college and at that time when you graduated, it was like one of those old movies where you had a graduation gown over your military uniform. i received my degree and then we took off our grounds and in our uniforms received her commissions. little did i know at the time at santa clara university that ultimately it would be here serving as secretary of defense. so this has for me than a very distinct privilege and i are to have this opportunity. let me use this opportunity before it open to questions to make a few comments on some issues. first of all during my time as
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director of the cia and secretary of defense, i have seen firsthand how modern tools like remotely piloted platforms inside versus doneness have changed the way wars are fought and given our men and women, the ability to engage the enemy and change the course of battle, even from afar, i've always felt , having seen the great work that they do day in and day out, but those who perform in an outstanding manner should be recognized. unfortunately, metals that they otherwise might be eligible for simply does not recognize that kind of contribution.
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and for that reason, recognizing to eligible advances, i am pleased to announce that i formally approved the establishment of a new distinguished warfare metal. the model provides distinct departmentwide recognition for the extraordinary achievements that directly impact on combat operations, but that do not involve acts of valor or physical risk to combat entails. our military reserves highest accretions obviously for those who displayed gallantry and valor in action when the lights are on the line and we will continue to do so. we should also have the ability to honor the extraordinary actions to make a true difference in combat operations. and the work that they do, contribution they make does contribute to the success of combat operations, particularly
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when they were in those the enemy from the field of battle. even if those actions are physically removed from the site. so as the distinguished warfare metal the department now has that ability and it would be reserved only for those who have met the highest standards. this award recognizes the reality of the technological warfare we are engaged in an the 20. i'm a comment on some other recent events. obviously i want to join president obama in condemning the apparent north korean nuclear test. they are still evaluating not to determine exactly, you know, whether or not it was a nuclear test. this highly provocative act was a clear violation of united
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nations security council resolutions and north korea's own commitments under the party six party talks. the regime's actions are undermining regional security. the regime's actions are increasing risks of proliferation and further isolating north korea from the international community. there is no question that north korea constitutes a threat to the united states, to regional stability into global security. a combination of a recent missile test combined with what appear he was this nuclear test we believe represents a real threat to the united states of america. make no mistake the u.s. military will take all necessary steps in nader's security commitment to the republic of
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korea and to our regional allies. i was pleased yesterday the u.n. security council condemned north korea's actions. this is a strong first step as we work to increase the pressure on the regime with the sanctions and new steps that we hope to take with regards to our presence in that area. turning next to the state of the union address, i was very pleased that the president made clear that the lemming budgetary cuts could really jeopardize military readiness and as you know, my deputy, ash carter and joint chiefs of staff have been on the this week making a very strong case for why we need to resolve the second south of the decreases. average again strongly urge the congress to heed these warnings.
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as i said last week, this is not a game. this is reality. the fact is that even as i speak, people are being hurt. people are being hurt by the vegan uncertainty that this country is now living under. there are salaries being cut, jobs being lost, readiness impacted. the uncertainty is hurting people and is hurting our country. members of congress need to understand that they were elected to protect the public, not to hurt the public and i hope they will remember that as they hopefully work towards a resolution of this issue.
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afghanistan, let me put the announcement last night into the context of the broader campaign. when i became secretary of defense in 2011, with the search fully in place, the number of american troops on the ground at that time had about 100,000. these additional forces have expanded our footprint and provided combat power necessary to disrupt the insurgency and push it out of its traditional strongholds, particularly in the south. in the months and come in the united states and coalition forces have partnered closely with the afghan forces, which now have grown to full strength of 352,000 personnel. those afghan forces are now leaving nearly 90% of security operations across the country. they are in the lead for security for more than three quarters of the afghan
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population and have retained security gains even as the united states is drawn down the surge forces we had there, the 33,000. over the past several months, general allan conducted a thorough investigation of the isaf campaign plan and recommended the drawdown for 34,000 additional troops in a phased approach over the coming year. in consultations that the administration, i strongly supported general allan's recommendations. i was very pleased that the president's decision announced last night except general allan's recommendations and puts us firmly on the path, i believe, to fulfill our mission in afghanistan. from now until 2014, am confident general joe dunford
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will have the combat power he needs to continue building up the capabilities of the afghan national security forces. the united states, nato and the afghan government agreed in lisbon from 2010 affirming chicago last year that afghanistan will assume full responsibility for security by the end of 2014. we are well on track for that goal and we will maintain a long-term commitment to afghanistan, including training and equipment of afghan forces and counterterrorism operations against al qaeda and their affiliates. continued dedication and sacrifice of our troops, and fully confident as i prepared to handle responsibilities as secretary of defense that we will prevail in the nine al qaeda safe haven from which to attack our homeland. as i stated the beginning, this'll be my last press
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conference in the pentagon briefing room, so let me close by saying the following. first of all, i'm very proud of the achievements we have been able to accomplish in the time had been secretary of defense. first and foremost, we kept the country safe. secondly, we have been dedicating ourselves to bringing to worst a conclusion. the war in iraq and now we are well on the way to bring the war in afghanistan to a conclusion as well. we have made significant gains in weakening terrorism and i can say i am proud of my contribution as both director of the cia and secretary of defense i will carry the memory of having worked on the bin laden operation at the cia with me for
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a long time to come. it is a very special operation and i think i did a great deal to try to keep this country safe. the other efforts to undermine leadership of al qaeda by both military and intelligence operations working together, probably the finest example is seen in my time of the military and intelligence operations coming together to go after the enemy to attack this country. i think it has done a great deal not only to we cannot qaeda, but to weaken and undermine their ability to attack this country in the future. i am proud of the defense strategy we put in place. obviously when we're presented with having to reduce the defense budget by almost half a trillion dollars, but i think
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the defense strategy really makes good sense for this country in terms of the force we need for the 21st century and ultimately we will receive the certainty we need in order to make that defense for a strategy of reality for the future. i'm also proud of having the opportunity to expand opportunities for everyone to serve in the military. i'm a deep believer in not for my own background. i believe everybody deserves the chance to succeed. there are no guarantees, but everybody does deserve a chance to go to succeed. and i'm proud of the care we continue to provide for wounded warriors and their families. they are truly deserving of whatever we can provide because of the sacrifices they've made. most of all, i remain proud and honored to have a dessert of brave warriors as secretary of
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defense. they put their lives on the line for brave men and women who have sacrificed in order to keep our country safe and to make the united states is strongest military power in the world. and lastly again, let me state that a vigorous uninformed price is vital to our democracy and the department of defense and the american people have been fortunate to have some of the lesson in business and our press corps. i've had the opportunity to interact regularly with you coming to travel with many viewing to share a meal and shared a few drinks or two with some of you. i've always been impressed by professional in some coming dedication and fairness. your work is help me to do better by the men and women in
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the military. when i depart this briefing room, know that i deeply thank you free from to informing people around the world of the work of the department of defense and the brave americans fighting and serving in a sense we are working towards a common mission of keeping our country safe, given our children a better life for my parents believed in as americans and immigrants coming to this country. in defending and strengthening the government of by and for all people. that i'm happy to take your questions. >> thank you for your willingness to come into the room on a regular basis may help your successor follows your example. can ask your question about north korea. imagine are still assessing one of the questions out there was,
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whether indications it was a plutonium device? more broadly, would you say knowing what you know about the evolution of this program that they are now a nuclear power and what sort of deterrent actions are you considering taking now of military sorts? >> we obviously are continuing to evaluate and assess whether or not the tests they conducted was in fact a nuclear test or soma prices of doing that. i can't give you an answer to that question. there is no question north korea has continued to enrich fuel. they have connect to test in the past and the combination of their continuing pursuit of not only a nuclear weapon, the continuing pursuit of
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intercontinental ballistic capability represents a road threat to the united states. they continue to be engaged in provocative behavior. they're isolating themselves and the rest of the world. brescia, china and almost the whole world has condemned what they have done in as a result of that, it should be of great concern to the international community that they are continuing to develop their capabilities to threaten the security, not only south korea, but the rest of the world and for that reason, i think we have to take steps to make very clear to them that that kind of behavior is unacceptable. >> have you required many subjects are contemplating
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taking? >> at the combination of a number of things. one is obviously diplomatic steps that have to be taken, bringing the security council together to condemn actions is important to organizing to do that. i believe this morning i talked with the minister of south korea and we both agreed that we are to make sure that we made clear that we are going to continue to conduct exercises they are. we are going to continue to deploy forces in that area and show the north koreans we are fully prepared to deal with any contingencies. we work with those south korea and japan to try to develop the kind of defense systems that we
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need and i think we have to do everything necessary to increase our missile defenses with regards to that drive. >> now that you're leaving and can be more candid, the bin laden operation, certainly as you mentioned, very central to your tenure in both places. what can you tell us now that we don't know about the operation? [laughter] >> it wasn't trained seven who did that. >> one thing you do nine to tell america that you haven't been able to. but did you have a moment at some point when you are worried, maybe the a helicopter coming to be something else that it might not not go as smoothly and might
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be wrong that he was mayor and as you also look back now, who is bin laden at the end of it all? to see some of my giardia quiet was he a threat? duty of credible thoughts? who is this guy a? >> i think first and foremost that bin laden remains the inspirational leader for al qaeda and continue to make him dangerous. he was obviously not close to the front lines and continue to stay in touch and communicate with them and remained dangerous in terms of the leadership he could provide in developing the kind of 9/11 attacks that we revisit the mouse. so i think without question, he remained a dangerous threat to the united states.
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the operation itself i was asked about the movie and as i said, i basically lived that operation. there's no way you can take everything done over 10 years, plus the time i was there to put it into our movie. it doesn't work that way. what i saw in the time i was there was a very professional intelligence operation that was able to determine the location of the compound in a broad abroad. and as everybody knows, despite all the work that was done on the intelligence side, and a great deal was, and we were putting bits and pieces together, that we never had 100% confidence who is bin laden that was located there. so from the very beginning, it
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was always very risky because we didn't know that in fact is bin laden. we didn't know whether it may be someone else. we continue to look at the intelligence to a point to it being bin laden, but very frankly we did not have 100%. when we went into the discussion ultimately on the operations to be connected, there were a lot of different views presented by race questions and concerns about whether or not we should do this. i remain very confident that with the information we have, the best information on bin laden since tora bora, but it was important for us not to simply ignore what we had, but to take action and going determine whether or not it was him. obviously during the operation, there were moments when we wrote
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nervous about what was happening. but you know, what made me confident we have to proceed with the confidence i had in misconduct in the operation. i had tremendous confidence in them, their capability to do these operations every night in afghanistan. they do that sometimes 10 or 12 times a night. bituminous confidence to get the job done and in the end, the confidence proved worthwhile. >> would be set on the potential prosecution of matt bissonnette, author of "no easy day"? do you have any comment on the controversial "esquire" magazine that claims the bin laden shooter was screwed by the military after he retired? >> i don't know where that matter stands.
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i know the consulate has considered taking action on not. i don't know exactly where that matter stands. on the "esquire" magazine article picher racing, you know, work, the operations conducted by our special forces are outstanding involve risk. yesterday we get a honor to sergeant romesha. and this kid is out there in the middle of nowhere with 400 enemies and his tremendously courageous and brave and taking them on and say they now know my fellow soldiers, but ultimately saving database. ask for that bravery and courage
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go on often every day in a war zone and i just think it's difficult to gain that everybody who performs in that kind of passion, that somehow, we had to establish a separate fund to assist them. the reality is then and women in uniform put their lives on the line every day as a sacrifice for this country. i think the great thing about this country is there are those that are willing to do that and not worry whether or not they are going to get an award or additional pay, but they just do it because they love this country. >> secretary, what a, general dancing secretary clayton recommends the u.s. provide weapons to the rebel forces in
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syria? were you disappointed the white house turned it down and do you think as a result of that but this war could go on endlessly? >> well look, i was asked a very direct question by senator mccain and i gave him a direct answer. i am not going to go into the discussions are held on this issue other than to say there were a lot of variables and issues that were discussed. in the end, the president made a decision i supported that position. i was safe. obviously remains a tremendous concern, syria remains a concern with what iran is doing in going in and assisting the al qaeda front. it is now participating on the
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opposition side. in addition to that, hezbollah seems to be more active as well. when you look at the whole situation in the lives lost in syria, i think this is not only a tragic situation, it is a situation that can develop into a much more chaotic situation that can create even more turmoil in the middle east and for that reason to believe the international community working with the united states has to take steps to do whatever we can to ensure aside to step down and there's a peaceful transition. >> if i could, as general allen type two about withdrawing his name to become supreme allied commander in europe? >> john allen, as all of you know has been i think a nice
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steaming commander for the united state and i sat. i think history when it looks back on the afghanistan war, a look at the role played by john allen and see it as pivotal in terms of the direction that changed while he was in command and the direction that was set by hand has put us on the path towards completing the mission. he has been under a tremendous amount of pressure, a lot of work is had to engage in, a lot of policy decisions in term of the recommendations. john allen came home with the opportunity to meet yesterday. my recommendation to him must take your time. you know, be with your family. i think your country will always find a way to make use of your great services, please got to make a decision as to which you want to do in the future.
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>> can you talk about accomplishments of the department and things who are proud of? i wonder if you can focus on any particular disappointments during your tenure here? besides the budget. [laughter] may be sent and you couldn't resolve in your time here but couldn't deal with adequately that is going to have to be left to your successor, any disappointment in particular? >> can no, i really have to say and express is to the team here. i've been honored by having a great team at the pentagon. general dempsey, of the service chiefs have been outstanding in the work that they've done and all the civilian person now,
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secretaries, staff and others have had a very good team, working on a number of issues. and you know, every one of the tough issues we had to confront, i've always felt i had the best advice on the best guidance that we were able to get it done. to be frank, i put a lot of burdens on the military working through a lot of the tough decisions that we've made and they always responded. they responded in a fashion of dedication to country and the military. they've been able to do some historic things as a result of that. i guess if there is anything that i am always disappointed by, it is that all of the work
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we do, to try to make this country strong and develop a strong defense, i'm sorry about this, but i've got to say the partnership with the congress and the ability to have congress they are, to be able to support what is being done to protect this country, that i've been very concerned that we should be and what our forefathers envisioned as a strong bond between an administration executive branch, but that bond is not as strong as it could be and often times they feel like i don't have a full partnership with my former colleagues on the
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hill in trying to do what is right for this country. i don't pretend that we always make the right decisions. remake mistakes, but would i vote for our members willing to work with us, to try to work our way through tough issues and the will to find solutions. we just can't sit here and. we can't sit here and complain. we can't sit here and blame others. we can't point fingers at each other. we can't sit here and get soundbites. we can't sit here and try to make the little points. we have got to solve real problems facing this country. this country is facing several threats in the world. this is not a time when we can take a deep breath and assume the rest of the world is going to be fine. are facing real threats. as i've pointed out before, we
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can't do this alone. we've got to do this with a full partnership with the congress in both houses. the disappointment i have in the 50 years they've been in this town, particularly as a member of the congress, i always thought that leadership in the congress and whatever administration was involved when he came to the big issues that there is a willingness to work together to solve those issues i am part of that and frankly i'm a great great experiences in the congress was being able to work on budget issues and other issues with the support of both parties in support of the leadership. somehow, someway we've got to get back to them. the guy to get back to that for the sake of this country. >> will have even more difficult
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relationship in congress. and general allen, clearly, to be at the likelihood he may not go for the uconn job? >> no, he did not. i think you two and coming back first and foremost was pleased the president expected his recommendations with regards to the afghan drawdown and we talked a great deal about the situation they are in some of the issues that we have to continue to confront. i told them when it came to tremendous confidence in them than i am prepared by capacity as long as i am in this job to do whatever i can producers this country in what capacity he wants to serve this country. you just got to take some time to be able to be with your
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family and think about what you want to do. on the first issue -- [inaudible] >> it was kind of in full display. i think when you see some of the debate, in the congress, the thing that makes the congress work is that you will always have different phase. there will always be party differences, political differences, that's what the whole purpose of our forefathers fashioning that legislative branch is to debate fully those differences. but there are also some lines that or they are, that make that process work, lines that involve
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mutual respect, lines that involve, you know, courtesy and agree of respect for each other, despite what their decisions our nec that breaking down in this process. it becomes too personal. it becomes -- look, everybody's got legitimate point, but there is a way to express it in a way that complements our democracy, doesn't mean our democracy. i think what you see on display is too much mean s. and i really do think they've got to get back to a process where there's a word beasties in the house of representatives, hopefully it is still used with the greatest respect, but the greatest respect to disagree with my friend. there's a reason for that because it is respect notches for that individual, but
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institution of the congress. somehow members on the house and senate side have to get back to a point where they really do respect the institution they are partners. >> what would you say after four years of the current administration is the reputation of this country in the eyes of the rest of the world? >> wherever i've gone throughout the world and obviously traveled a great deal on this job and had the opportunity to work with partners everywhere in the world , every where i is gone, there is a recognition that the united states of america is a great power in the world, that are values that we believe in is
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in large measure what gives us the strength we have for leadership in the world we live in. i think what they worry about is what i worry about, which is whether or not, you know, we can govern and whether or not we can face the tough decisions to resolve those. the present budget uncertainty is something that other countries are looking at to determine whether or not we can in fact resolve that. that is why i have said i think when we talk about national security, the greatest concern i have for national security is budget uncertainty and the inability to govern and find solutions. so i think the united states is viewed as strong in terms of military power, strong in terms of values, strong in terms of what we represent to the rest of
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the world. strong in terms of wanting and needing our leadership in our ability to work with them and develop capabilities. but there is a nervousness out there about whether in fact ultimately we can rise to the challenge of governing ourselves and finding answers to the tough issues we are confronting. [applause] >> now, nebraska governor gives his state of the state address in lincoln. he talks about his tax reform plan that would eliminate or lower corporate income taxes. this is about 20 minutes. >> thank you are a match. mr. president, mr. speaker, members of the legislature,
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tribal chairman, distinguished guests, friends and foe nebraska. i'm excited to be here at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, as we take this opportunity to continue moving nebraska forward. since 2005, the nebraska legislature and i worked together to make a positive difference for nebraskans. you and i positioned nebraska is a state that is make insignificant process. this is a great state and the stars at their citizens. the baskets are hard-working, practical, responsible and innovative, as nebraskans, we bring a sense of quiet pride to everything we do. we respect each other and want our children to have an even better nebraska in the future. nebraska is a special place in our job is to ensure that nebraska is prosperous today and in the future. we are on the right path and not
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pastors to quality education. education is a great equalizer and education is one of our states top priorities. we invest in education because we know how important it is. your new speaker, senator gregg adams have been part of her p-16 initiative to strengthen achievement for all students in nebraska. in 2008, i signed into law the legislature is lb 1157 that provides for statewide assessment for reading, writing, math and science. thanks to that legislation and our partnership with commissioner bree and the state board of education, more than ever before, the focus of our school district is now on academic achievement. we can be very proud that nebraska's high school graduation rate is 86%, fourth best in america. we have good schools and they want to be even better in the
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future. i proposed budget continues to make a 12 education a priority by increasing state aid to education from $852 million to $895 million in fiscal year 2014 and $939 million in fiscal year 2015. additionally, i am proposing a 5% increase in special education funding in each of the next two years. rcn said they are the leaders of tomorrow and it is critical to our future but they have affordable access to quality higher education. last week, president j.b. milliken from the state chancellor college, said they deny announced the university of nebraska and state colleges are prepared to implement a two-year tuition freeze for nebraska students if you adopt my proposed budget.
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my recommendation provides the necessary state funding to achieve this two-year tuition freeze for unl, unk, uno, unmc, chadron state, wayne state and peru state. this is very good news for nebraska families who are working very hard to ensure that their sons and daughters can afford to go to college. community colleges are important component of our education system as well. i am proposing a similar increase in community college funding for reach of the next two years so that each of our six community college is can also consider adopting a two-year tuition freeze. educating the students of the day for jobs of tomorrow is only half of our formula for continued success. in order for nebraska to continue to grow, we must create jobs and welcome feature nebraskans to her stay.
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working together with the legislature may firsters governor, we pass the image and it's been successful. agriculture is an important part of our economy and agriculture remains relatively strong in nebraska. we are sick at and third in corn production for mistakes in soybean production in the second leading ethanol producer. however, farmers and ranchers have also faced the challenge of the drought this last year and they've managed operations efficiency and flexibility. water resources will continue to be a challenge or aquaculture, businesses and communities due to the continuing drought. experts are important to nebraska on sunday that a trade mission to china. we continue to expand and strengthen our relationship with china, just like with canada, mexico, japan and many other
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countries. during the past few years, nebraska exports to china have grown rapidly in china is now nebraska's fourth-largest partner. i am confident this will be a growing and improving relationship for many years to come. as we continue to make state government more efficient and accessible to citizens, not to recognize their technology professionals throughout state government for what they do. from online motor vehicle registration renewals to r. 511 system that provides immediate inaccurate information about those conditions, our goal is to provide more and better technology in the future. i'm also pleased to share with you at first to have state workers make one of the part of their everyday lives. we offer an innovative program
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in health insurance package designed to run on it. in 2012, the bonus program became the first and only state to bring the coveted c. everett koop national health award. to receive his party just a word you must demonstrate health improvements and cost savings. this award reflects our hearts and employees work to improve health. after just three years, state of nebraska is in a $4.2 million reduction in claims, strong participation rates and high satisfaction among employees. our focus on wellness is resulting in a healthier workforce and our insurance premium increases are significantly lower than the national average. at the federal level, health care policy is a different story. in the next two-year budget cycle, the state of nebraska endeavors date in america is
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required by law to implement president obama's new federal health care law. the financial impact is enormous. it will cost more than $170 million in federal and state funds over the next eight years to implement administration required by the federal health care law and more significant, it will cost the state of nebraska $72 million in general fund for the growth of the current medicaid program as a result of the federal health care law. $72 million in new general fund name for president among the state federal health care law. money that could be going to state it education or higher education. i'm also concerned about federal economic policy and its impact on nebraska. unlike the federal government, we don't spend money we don't have. we balance our budget and our
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family budgets by controlling spending, not by raising taxes. they are conservative in how they spend money. lending tree says nebraskans had the lowest average monthly -- the third-best run state in america. gallup has recognized a brass at the fourth estate to live in. brusca has good schools, affordable homes, a strong work ethic and low unemployment rate. taxes are too high nebraska. high taxes impede growth. they are an attractive for entrepreneurial growth in high-paying jobs. small business manager berner council estates in their 20s told u.s. business policy
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impacts and i quote, high personal income tax rate raises working, saving, investing and risk-taking. the personal income tax influence business is because more than 92% of businesses cut taxes as individuals and therefore pay personal income taxes rather than corporate income taxes, and a quote. the same report states the top personal income tax rate is the 35th highest in america and higher than everyone up for in neighboring states. additionally, 23 states exempt a portion of overall retired military pay from taxation, but nebraska does not. 43 states exempt a portion of all social security income from taxation, but nebraska does not.
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42 states don't have an inheritance tax, but nebraska does. according to the tax foundation, nebraska's business tax climate is 31st out of 50 states. that is mediocre at best. we are not even the top half of all states. missouri 16, colorado 18, kansas is 26. wyoming and south dakota are wanting to. on the iowa lower to 40 seconds. the rankings are important, and this is really the next generation of nebraska's leaders. sons and daughters and grandchildren. how many of you have sons and daughters, grandchildren, brothers and sisters in other families who no longer live in nebraska because they couldn't find a job here or they couldn't find the right career here in nebraska? every family in nebraska and is exactly what i'm talking about.
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the question is, i was going to do something about it? are we going to be satisfied with the mediocre texas and that will create the jobs of the future for some and daughters, are we willing to reform the tax code so we have a modern, simpler and fairer tax code? are willing to consider a bold, innovative tax plan that would create a top 10 business tax climate in nebraska? im. i believe you are nebraskans know we can do better than a mediocre taxi stand. so what can we do? the state of nebraska, sales and income tax system generates $4 billion in revenue. income taxes are raises nearly nearly $2.4 billion. the remainder comes from sales tax revenue.
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but did you know the state of nebraska provide $5 billion in sales tax exemptions? nebraska defense more than we collect. is that fair to small businesses and working nebraskans? imagine if we eliminate half of the current exemptions, what would that mean for citizens? do have individual income tax for corporate income tax. that the individual income tax and the corporate income tax, they would be no income tax on working nebraskans. social security and military retirement income would no longer be tax. there would be no tax on small business income. in recent months, i've asked business leaders said they would give up their sales tax exemptions if we could eliminate the individual income tax and corporate income tax, or at least lower the individual and corporate tax rates?
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you may be surprised, but many are willing to have that discussion. they want simplicity and fairness. they won a modern tax code theroux is productivity, profits and job creation rather than having lawyers and accountants spending time minding the tax code for exemptions. our tax system shouldn't favor one industry over another. change is not easy, especially when it involves taxes. but this is the discussion our state needs to have. the world has changed our current tax system needs to be modernized and transformed. it's been nearly five decades since nebraska has had a serious debate about our overall tax system. life is changed drastically since the 1960s. we are operating in a completely different economic environment
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then. the average cost of a new home is $24,000. a first-class stamp is 5 cents. gas was 33 cents a gallon. in the 1960s, americans did not personal computers in their homes. today we live in an electronic age. today we are educating children for jobs that have not yet been created, using technologies that have not yet been invented. today we operate a technology driven market economy and we need a modern tax system. our tax reform proposal is revenue neutral and budget control. i know there are organizations that want to tax my services at the overall goal of growing government. these organizations want to spend our tax dollars for more government programs. that is not what mr. brascan phone and that is not what our
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plan is about. our goal is a better business tax climate that will create more high-paying jobs and more rewarding careers for sons and daughters. we need a tax climate that rewards middle-class families for their hard work. in the next two days, i will have legislation introduced that provides alternative options for eliminating many business sales tax exemptions that could lead to elimination of the individual tax in the corporate income tax or at least slowing nebraska's individual and corporate tax rates. this will provide a starting point for discussion. i want to emphasize one point. our proposal will not tax food. this text and it will be challenging, but it's necessary. nebraskans have strong opinions and we are able to disagree on policy and an agreeable and respectful manner.
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i welcome and look forward to your input. i'm prepared to work with you and all nebraskans because we can develop a tax system by adopting a modern, simpler and fairer tax code, we have the opportunity to make a brascan is a top 10 tax climate state so sons and daughters and new nebraskans can find jobs and careers right here in nebraska. our young people will stay here because they will have good jobs and good careers. sinners and retiree will stay because nebraska will no longer tax social security retirement income. punch per nurse will grow businesses in nebraska because they will no longer face the burden of nebraska to be in the 35th highest taxed state on small businesses. the choice is ours.


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